At, we appreciate the concept of crowdfunding. It’s one of the big game-changers in the social entrepreneurship field, helping people not just to raise money for a great idea, but to actually test whether it is, indeed, a great idea. If people will pre-buy your products before you’ve produced them, then it’s likely that they’ll be successful in the marketplace as well.

We ran a successful Kickstarter campaign for GBO Hawai’i, the green economy board game we produced and released in Spring 2012, raising $15,000 in pre-sales and other support. For a startup, this kind of capital can be a lineline to getting a product launched.

So to pay it forward, we’d like to feature really cool crowdfunding concepts that are going live, and we’re starting with the iZen bamboo keyboard and matching iPad stand (just in time for the release of the new iPad!).

The keyboard is a step forward in electronics make-up. It’s 92% less plastic than a conventional keyboard, while still maintaining all the functionality, including bluetooth wireless connectivity. According to Robin Behrstock, iZen’s developer, “Every year, more and more new tech gadgets are manufactured and consumed, using high levels of energy, rare earth metals, and precious crude oil. After people are done with them, they sit in landfills for thousands of years. iZen Bamboo’s mission is to help this situation in every way possible.”

And to be honest, it’s stunning. Figure this to be a fairly common workplace addition, as people configure their cubicles for better feng shui, what could be better than the alluring beauty of bamboo?

For pledges of $85, people can get the keyboard (normal retail of $100), and for an additional few bucks, they can also get a stand for their iPad.

Check out Crowdfunding Eco-spotlight on our sidebar until the end of the iZen campaign on Kickstarter (April 14, 2012). If it isn’t there anymore, click here to see if it was successful, and check out the new Eco-Spotlight we’re featuring to see the next great green product!

If you have a suggestion for us to spotlight another great green startup in a crowdfunding campaign, click here to send it along!



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About The Author

Scott Cooney

Scott Cooney (twitter: scottcooney) is an adjunct professor of Sustainability in the MBA program at the University of Hawai'i, green business startup coach, author of Build a Green Small Business: Profitable Ways to Become an Ecopreneur (McGraw-Hill), and developer of the sustainability board game GBO Hawai'i. Scott has started, grown and sold two mission-driven businesses, failed miserably at a third, and is currently in his fourth. Scott's current company has three divisions: a sustainability blog network that includes the world's biggest clean energy website and reached over 5 million readers in December 2013 alone; Pono Home, a turnkey and franchiseable green home consulting service that won entrance into the clean tech incubator known as Energy Excelerator; and Cost of Solar, a solar lead generation service to connect interested homeowners and solar contractors. In his spare time, Scott surfs, plays ultimate frisbee and enjoys a good, long bike ride. Find Scott on

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